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Rorquals use throat pleats to expand their mouths, which allow them to feed more effectively.

However, rorquals need to build up water pressure in order to expand their mouths, leading to a lunge-feeding behavior.

Mysticeti comprise the families Balaenidae (right whales), Balaenopteridae (rorquals), Cetotheriidae (the pygmy right whale), and Eschrichtiidae (the gray whale). While cetaceans were historically thought to have descended from mesonychids, molecular evidence supports them as relatives of even-toed ungulates (Artiodactyla).

Baleen whales split from toothed whales (Odontoceti) around 34 million years ago.

Gray whales are bottom-feeders, meaning they sift through sand to get their food.Baleen whales range in size from the 20 ft (6 m) and 6,600 lb (3,000 kg) pygmy right whale to the 112 ft (34 m) and 190 t (210 short tons) blue whale, which is also the largest creature on earth. Baleen whales can have streamlined or large bodies, depending on the feeding behavior, and two limbs that are modified into flippers.Though not as flexible and agile as seals, baleen whales can swim very fast, with the fastest able to travel at 23 miles per hour (37 km/h).They have callosities, unlike other whales, with the exception of the bowhead whale.Gray whales are easily distinguished from other extant cetaceans by their sleet-gray color, dorsal ridges (knuckles on the back), and their gray-white scars left from parasites.

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The closest living relatives to baleen whales are toothed whales both from the infraorder Cetacea. Rosenbaum (of the American Museum of Natural History) and colleagues, the North Pacific (E. australis) whales are more closely related to each other than to the North Atlantic right whale (E. Rorquals consist of two genera (Balaenoptera and Megaptera) and nine species: the fin whale (B. However, DNA analysis by studies, such as the one by Takeshi Sasaki (of the Tokyo Institute of Technology) and colleagues, indicates certain rorquals, such as the humpback whale, Megaptera novaeangliae, and the fin whale, Balaenoptera physalus, are more closely related to the gray whale than they are to some other rorquals, such as the minke whale, Balaenoptera acutorostrata.

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